Account statement: overview and documentation

A bank statement gives you an overview of your current account balance and the transactions that have taken place in your checking account. The relevant account data, such as the account number, are also printed on it. The statement shows the balance at the beginning and at the end of the specified period, and you can track all incoming and outgoing payments made through this account. These are given with date, purpose and amount.

In addition, you may also find on your bank statement information about the amount of the credit line granted to you. At the same time, account statements are also often used as evidence to prove payments made.

Get a bank statement

You will receive the statements with your bank card at the bank statement printers in the branches of your bank. There you can theoretically print bank statements at any time and get informed about new account movements. You can also receive the extracts by mail. This usually happens automatically if you have not picked them up from the statement printer within a period of 30 days. Banks are required by law to inform their customers at least once a month about their account transactions.

If the customer has neither picked up a printout nor downloaded an electronic account statement, the statements will be sent by post. However, banks are not allowed to charge the customer for such unsolicited account statements. Only the postage costs may demand from the customer, a processing fee is however according to a judgment of the regional court Frankfurt (Az. 2-25 O 260/10) not permissible.

Daily statement and clearance

The regular bank statement that you receive at the machine or online is also referred to as a daily statement. It provides the current status of your account and lists the last account transactions. However, bookings are not always displayed immediately, but only when they have been executed. For example, if you have paid in a debit card business, the appropriate payment will not be displayed if you print a bank statement a few minutes later.

So if you want to quickly prove a transfer, it is best to use a bank transfer receipt. With online banking, you can print them out immediately after making a transfer.

The clearance of accounts, on the other hand, takes place at regular intervals – often on a quarterly basis – and includes interest credited or billed to you, but also the fees incurred, such as account, card and postage.

That means the abbreviations on the bank statement

  • EC: Electronic Cash You have paid with your debit card and have authorized the payment by entering your PIN.
  • ELV: Electronic Direct Debit You have made a card payment and authorized it with your signature.
  • GA: ATM You have withdrawn money from a machine. Here also the machine number, date and time are given.

electronic bank statement

If you use online banking, your bank will probably offer you an electronic bank statement there. This contains the same information as the variant on paper from the statement printer, but the layout is usually different. Therefore, the electronic account statement may initially seem unfamiliar.

You can apply to your bank to convert to the electronic bank statement and receive it always at the agreed time in your mailbox in the online banking area of ​​the bank. In most cases, the online digital statements are available for twelve months, and longer depending on the bank's terms and conditions. It is strongly recommended to download the electronic bank statements regularly and to save them on a storage medium. In addition, they can of course be printed.

Note, however, that under certain circumstances a postal delivery of bank statements takes place. If you do not retrieve the statements online for a long period of time, the bank will notice that you are not aware of your current account movements. Then many banks send a letter with the current excerpts to comply with their obligation to inform.

Advantages of the electronic account statement

With the electronic bank statement you have the opportunity to quickly get an overview of your account transactions at any time, without having to visit a bank branch. Instead, simply retrieve the information via the regular online banking access. The excerpts are quickly stored and archived without you having to create large file folders. In addition, you avoid the postage costs incurred in the case of a postal delivery of the statements.

Legal Aspects

As the Federal Ministry of Finance has decided in 2006, an electronic bank statement, which is available in immutable PDF format, equivalent to an original statement from the bank. Accordingly, he can serve as evidence as well as this – for example, to the tax office. However, this does not apply to all groups of people: Anyone who is required to keep an account must be prepared for the tax office to carry out an assessment for tax recognition in the case of an electronic bank statement.

The bookkeeping obligation exists for all merchants as well as for commercial entrepreneurs and farmers and foresters from a certain annual turnover. If in doubt, companies should inquire with the tax office as to whether electronic bank statements are sufficient for them. With an electronic signature, however, this form of bank statement is equivalent to the paper variant. Because this ensures that it is a forgery-proof original document. For your safety, however, you should ask your bank whether it will create the electronic bank statements with such a recognized signature.

Legal and advisable retention periods

For private individuals, there is usually no prescribed period for which they must keep account statements. An exception, however, is for people who have more than € 500,000 in income per year: they must archive their bank statements for six years. Even if you have commissioned craftsmen, you must keep the relevant statements as proof of payment for two years from the end of each calendar year. However, it is not about your own finances, but about a means of control for the tax offices, which can thus verify the sales tax of craft businesses. In addition, since the legal warranty period for craft services is five years, archiving for this period is also recommended.

Apart from these obligations, however, it is advisable for all consumers to keep account statements for a certain time as proof of payment, especially for larger purchases. The basic limitation period can serve as a guide. It is three years from the end of the respective calendar year. So if a purchase takes place on 15 June 2012, the limitation period begins on 31.12.2012 and ends on 31.12.2015. After this time no claims can be enforced.

It is also advisable to keep account statements in order to prove the regularity of your own rental payments to a future landlord, for example. Even if you have carried out a credit comparison and apply for a loan, financial institutions often ask for bank statements as proof of the information provided in the loan application- home-page.

Bank statement with the bank demand

Banks are required to keep their bank statements for ten years. So it is possible to ask for excerpts there if you have lost or not kept them and now you need them. However, this service often incurs charges that often increase with the age of the required bank statement. Therefore, it is advisable to keep account statements carefully.

Legal difficulties for the building societies of the day of truth is approaching

Next week, the Supreme Court decides on the dismissals of old contracts. The low-interest rates threaten the building societies.

The building societies are in a tight spot. The low-interest rate environment complicates their business, depress revenues. And now they are preparing just the most loyal customer’s legal difficulties. Many savings customers have completed in the 1980s and 1990s, contracts with annual credit interest of up to 4 percent.

Instead of requesting the savings loans from the grant date of maturity, leave many untouched the money and take the interest with. The building savings is misused as an investment, so the accusation of many building societies. You terminate the contracts because they can no longer serve the high-interest rates. According to industry estimates, they have canceled 260 000 savings contracts in recent years that are a ripe allocation for at least ten years.

Whether such termination is effective, which decides on Tuesday for the first time Federal Court (BGH) in a lawsuit against the Bausparkasse Wüstenrot (Ref .: XI ZR 272/16). A spokesman of the Association of Building Societies announced that 101 decisions in the appeals process have so far been considered in favor of building societies.

A savings agreement is not a simple construction

In four cases, however, the savings customers were right who had successfully appealed against her dismissal. decide on one now has the Supreme Court. In the case, the applicant and her late husband had been completed in 1999, two savings contracts with a contract sum totaling 200,000 DM. These were ration ripe 2,001st Both balances are an interest rate of 2.5 percent. Under the contract, the Bausparerin might even get 4.5 percent if they waived the loan or wanted a higher rate loan.

A savings agreement is not a simple construction; he is legal as a loan in under § 488 et seq. (BGB) in the Civil Code treated. In the savings phase, the customer of the building society entrusts the money, this is now the Borrower. The banks operate in this time with the balances of the customers. Beyond a certain threshold, normally it is to reach the minimum savings assets, the bank indicates the allocation maturity. This is the first date on which a customer can accept the offer on the entire contract sum – legally, he will become the borrower and will have to repay the interest loan later.

The building loan corresponds to the difference between the contract sums and the savings. If a savings customers have saved up the whole contract sum, the building society may terminate the contract. Because the purpose of the savings agreement, a soft loan, can not be achieved. These terminations are undisputed. In the case of a dispute – and also in the case against Wüstenrot – not demanding the customer contract sums to give. Wüstenrot announced the woman in 2015 and referred to a standard whereby it can withdraw not fully desperate contracts ten years after complete reception (Article 489, paragraph I no. 2 BGB). Because the wording of the law and the reality of the case do not harmonize, Wüstenrot refers to the time of allocation of maturity 2,001th

Many Courts of Appeal (OLG) follow this legal opinion. But a Senate Stuttgart presented with two decisions in 2016 against this trend. According to the judges’ statutory right of termination of ten years after receiving the loan on savings contracts does not apply. In addition, building societies are not worthy of protection in the accumulation phase. You can require customers the maximum term by contract – exactly the Wüstenrot have however failed the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court ruled.

Low-interest rates threaten the business model

A voluntary taken over interest rate risk cannot be passed on to home savings. Whether the bank’s Senate on BGH, which always meets consumer-friendly decisions, even looks like it will show next week. Last year, the building societies had already suffered a serious defeat when the Supreme Court had declared the flat-rate loan fee unlawful. Consumer advocates do not consider the savings customers in the savings phase as lender of the building society because it is for the building loan not a loan contract within the meaning of the Civil Code. Rather, the savings customers acquire the right to a loan.

The low-interest rates threaten the business model of building societies, forcing them to act. Currently wants hardly a savings customers a savings loans whose terms have been established years ago still at higher interest rates. The cheaper loan also offers the banks. Conversely, savers are glad to still to maintain high-interest rates, and therefore irritate old savings contracts made as long as possible.